Ukranian Paska – Sweet Easter Bread

Ukranian Paska - Easter Bread
Recipe

This is  the  Ukranian Paska,  lovely,  soft  and sweet   Easter  bread.  I came  across  this  bread  few  years  back  when   searching  for   traditional  recipes.  Up until then , my Easter  breads   were  restricted  to  hot cross  buns  and  no  cross  buns.  Eastern European countries  have a  wonderful collection of  traditions breads  for  the  season.  Who wouldn’t  want  to bake  such a lovely bread year  after  year !

Granted  it  is  huge  loaf  for  today’s average  family,  but believe  it  or  not  the   the  original  recipes  called  for  double or  even  triple  this  amount .  No worries ,  this  bread  keeps  well   at  room temperature   for a  2 to 3 days  or  slice  and  freeze  it  for  longer  storage.  Let us  not  forget  that  this is a celebratory  bread, in other  words it is  meant  to  be shared. So slice off  a  piece  and  pass  it  on 🙂

Here is  my version of  this  recipe.  A  tribute  to the   wonderful bakers  who passed  on  these   recipes  generation  to generation ..

Ukranian Paska Dough

This   bread  dough starts  out   as an enriched  sweet   dough.  Warm  the   milk to  110°F or  just  warm to touch. Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in it  and  sprinkle  the  yeast on top.  Set  aside  for  5  to 10 minutes until the  yeast  is   bubbly. Measure the  flour into a large  mixing  bowl  along  with salt  and  sugar. Make a  well in the  center  and  break the  eggs into  it.  Give it a gentle  stir   with  a  spoon or  fork to break the  eggs.  Add the  yeast  mixture  and  slowly start  kneading  by adding   the  milk.  The  dough  should  be  a  bit  wet  and  sticky.  Keep kneading  for  a  minute  or  2  and  add the  softened  butter.  Knead  in the  butter.  As you knead  the  dough  develops  more  gluten  and the moisture  gets  absorbed  into the  flour  resulting  in a  smooth  soft   dough.  If  the  dough is  still very sticky after 5  minutes into kneading  add  more  flour  by tablespoons  and  knead in.

Ukranian Paska Ready For 1st Rise

This is a  dough that can  expand  quite a  lot  in the oven.  The  extra moisture  in the  dough  keeps  it from  drying  out  in the oven.  This  dough  did  give  my arms a  good  workout.  If  you have  a  mixer  use it . This   really is  a  wet   dough. The  dough  should  be  ready after   about 10 to 15 minutes of  kneading  by hand (around  7  minutes in the  mixer) .  Form into a ball and place in a  greased  bowl . Cover  and  let  rise  until doubled ,  about 1 hour.

Ukranian Paska Shaping

Punch down the risen  dough.  At  this point  you have  several options  to shape. Form  into  loaves or buns  of  your  choice.   The more  traditional shaping  is  that  of  a  decorated  round  loaf.  Take  a  9 inch  spring  form pan (with 2″ sides) and  lightly oil the  bottom and  the sides.  Divide  the   dough in half  and  form one  half into a  disc  and  place in  the  cake  pan.

Divide the  remaining  half into 3  portions  and   form  into long  ropes.  Create a braid  with  the  ropes  and  place  the  braid  on top  the  disc in the  pan. The  braid  should  be  a  little  longer  than  needed  create  an outer  circle. pinch the  extra  lengths off  and  create a  decorative  cross or  rosette  for  the   center.  Here I have used  the   extra  dough to  create a  simple  knot.  Place  it  in the  center . Do not  worry  if  there   seems  to be   gaps.  This  dough  rises  really well and  all gaps  will fill out   beautifully  while  baking.

Ukranian PaskaReady To Bake

Cover  and  let  the  dough rise  until  doubled and  peeking  out  from  top of the spring  form pan.  About 15  minutes  into the  second  rise , preheat  the  oven to 350°F (175°C).  Break an  egg  and  beat with 1 to 2 Tsp  water to make an egg wash.  Brush the  tops  of  the  bread  with the  egg wash, just  before  transferring  to  the  oven.  Bake  for  40 to 50 minutes  until  done.  The  bread is  done  when the  internal temperature  reaches 200° F (93°C).  A  quick  way to test  is  to tap the  bottom. When  done  the  bread  should   sound  hollow.

A  word  of  caution   –  this  bread  tend  to  rise  really tall.  If  you are  working  with a  small oven  you might  want  to  lower  the   racks.   Check in on the  bread  at   around  30 minutes . If  it  seems  to be  browning  too much, cover  the  top  with an aluminium  foil  and  reduce  the oven temperature  to 325°F(160°C).  In this case you might  have  to cook it a  little  longer,  but  no worries , the  added  moisture  ensure  that  the   bread  is  still moist.

Ukranian Paska

Here is a  slice of  this  beautiful paska. Try it   with a some of  my  Red Pepper Jelly.

Ukranian Paska

Ukranian Paska

Ingredients

Flour - 800g ( 6- 7 C)
Yeast - 7g( 1 pkt, 2 1/4 Tsp)
Sugar - 75g (5 Tbsp)
Milk -350g ( About 1 1/2 C)
Eggs - 3 Large
Butter - 50g (1/4 C)
Salt - 14 gm (2 1/4 Tsp)

Instructions

Warm the milk to 110°F or just warm to touch . Dissolve 1 tsp of the sugar in 1/4 cup of the milk and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside in a warm space for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast turns bubbly.

Take the flour in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your mixer) add the salt and sugar and stir well. Make a well in the center and break the eggs into it . Whisk the eggs with a fork for a few seconds . Add the yeast mix to it and start kneading . Slowly add the remaining milk and keep kneading until all the flour is mixed in. The dough at this point should be wet and a little sticky. Keep kneading for 2 more minutes before adding the butter . Add the butter and knead for 2 more minutes. The should be getting less sticky and smoother at this time. If it remains very sticky add a couple tablespoons of flour. Knead for 10 more minutes (5 to 7 in the mixer) to form a soft and pliable dough. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Divide the dough into halves. Form one half into a disc and press into the bottom of the spring form pan. Divide the remaining dough into 3 pieces . Form each piece into a rope and create a long 3 strand braid. Place the braid on top of the outer edges of the disc leaving an open area in the middle. Pinch off the extra length from the braid and form into any desired shape and place in the middle. Cover and let rise until almost doubled.

Pre heat teh oven to 350°F(175°C). Beat an egg with 1 tsp water to make an egg wash. Just before baking , brush the tops of the bread with the egg wash. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Check the bread at around 30 minutes to see whether the tops are browning too rapidly. If so , reduce the temperature to 325°F(160°C) and cover the bread with aluminum foil. The bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 200°F (93°C).

Remove from the oven and rest in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

https://oventales.com/ukranian-paska/

 

Ukranian Paska Easter Bread

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